As I proctored the Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) exam this morning, I thought it might be nice to share with others why I chose to get certified and how you can do the same.

Will certification bring in more clients?   No, not really.   While I have been hired, on occasion, simply because someone wanted a CPP, it doesn’t lead to a great number of new clients.

Will it gain the respect of other photographers?    Maybe.    That depends on the photographer.   Most photographers that respect the education process and what the CPP process entails will certainly respect you more as a professional.   But, there are very many photographers who are amazing artists and have not chosen to go through the process.

Then, why?    For me, I did it simply for myself, as a personal challenge to see if I could.    Would I do it again?   Absolutely!  I learned so much and grew so much as a photographer during and since the process.  That’s why I recommend it to others who want to take their skills to the next level.

In the words of Julia Boyd of the Professional Photographers of America:  “The mission of the CPP Program is to define a consistent standard of professionalism in photography, to provide the education necessary to achieve that standard, and to validate the photographer’s technical proficiency and knowledge of those standards through a rigorous examination and portfolio review.   The letters CPP after you name are a declaration of your professional competence.   Professional certification is a concept that consumers have come to equate with a guarantee of quality and experience.”

How does one become certified?     Here are the steps and some resources that will help you along the way:

1.   Visit PPA’s website and declare your candidacy.     (You must be a member of PPA to be certified.)

2.  STUDY!        The standard book suggested for study is Photography by London      PPA member and CPP Liaison Al Audleman has written a book that is an excellent source for studying for the updated exam.    Contact him to purchase that resource.

The PPA site has some study resources HERE.

Once you have declared your candidacy, there are two Facebook groups with great mentors who will help you along the way:

Exam  Study Group

Image Review Group

There are also CPP Prep classes available throughout the year at PPA Headquarters in Atlanta, GA, and at Imaging USA.

3.  Check out the CPP information online for update image submission requirements and start shooting toward those requirements.

4.  Join the Facebook groups and participate, read over previous comments and critiques and share your questions and images so those who have been through the process can help you attain the goal.

5.   For some one on one help, find a liaison in your state and ask for assistance.

6.  Check the PPA website for test dates and register, when you feel you are ready to take the exam.

The certification process will not only raise your skill level, but also your level of confidence in yourself as an artist.    Who wouldn’t want that?